Don't blame beer for your 'beer belly'

November 12, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Don't blame beer for your 'beer belly'

Despite the old adage that drinking a lot of beer can give you a trademark gut, new research shows that the amount of ale you sip appears to have no effect on your size.

European investigators found that heavy beer drinkers were no more likely to have large "beer bellies" or to be overweight than non-beer drinkers. So while beer is not exactly a diet drink, these findings suggest it may not be responsible for a heavy drinker's heaviness, say scientists at the University College London, UK.

During the study, 1141 men and 1212 women living in the Czech Republic completed questionnaires about how much alcohol they drank during a typical week. The researchers also measured their weight, height, and the size of their waist and hips.

The results of the study are based on findings from 891 men and 1098 women, all of whom were either nondrinkers or drank only beer and no wine or spirits.

Beer drinkers typically drank between one and more than 7 liters per week.

The investigators found that, after removing the influence of factors such as physical activity and education, people who were heavy drinkers were no more likely to have large guts or to be overweight than people who drank less or no beer.

However, non-smoking men who were heavy drinkers appeared more likely to gain weight than male smokers with similar drinking habits. This result may stem from the fact that people who smoke often weigh less than people who don't, making men who smoke less likely to gain weight from drinking beer.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.